The US Presidential election had Few important lessons for the Digital age : Did you identify Them ?

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Some “constraints” are just imaginary now

The incoming 46th President of the United States was made fun of repeatedly for running his campaign from his Delaware home basement.

The conventional approach to elections has always been rallies & town halls. Getting in front of thousands of people. Mingling with them. There was no better alternative. So two key methodologies leveraged in election campaigns have been in person campaigns combined with TV advertisments. And since this has been happening for so many decades, we completely became blind to two things:

(1) There are now “digital” ways to interacting with people and that method is normal for an increasingly expanding demographic

(2) Sh*t may hit the fan in unimaginable ways, making “conventional (legacy)” in person campaigns impossible.

And (2) happened !

The fact that (2) happened, combined with that one of the campaigns was cognizant of fact (1) and had included it in their strategy, Joseph R. Biden was able to pull it off from his basement (I know…I know…the “popularity” of incumbent president also made it easy for him).

Sometimes, you get so ingrained with the way things have worked for decades that we forget (1) and (2). (1) is that “the old way of doing this” were probably due to some constraints from decades ago that do not exist today and hence may not be the most efficient. (2) And due to that, if something happens that hinders the “old way”, since you have built a “constrained” business model around the old way, and then made that “constrained” business model your USP, your whole business model gets disrupted.

So, here is our first lesson:

Lesson 1: “Unconstraint” yourself from convention business constraints, which are now imaginary due to advancements in technology & computing power. These imaginary constraints mean that you open up your business to more risks from disruptions.

The whole world is your Market

This “Digital campaign from basement” approach also illustrates how vulnerable conventionally large companies are in this age. As services and products increasingly gravitate towards becoming Digital, your “strengths” as a large company, which acted as barriers to entry, are diminishing fast. Not only products can be developed by a small team from a basement anywhere in the world, it can be offered in any market, anywhere in the world.

Digital media is increasingly becoming the channel to propagate knowledge about new products and services, so the conventional “marketing might” that many large companies had will also not remain in play for long. Digital is flattening the playing field at an alarming rate. In ten years from now, it will be “innovate or die”.

All that a bunch of smart people need is a true solution to a need, build a product around it and shell pennies to market it strategically. So here is our next lesson.

Lesson 2 : Any company, in any part of the world, can be a challenger to you. And in the end, people want easy solutions to their needs. Emotional barriers of switchovers are diminishing at an alarming rate. Develop mitigation strategies around it.

Empathy is powerful

In my opinion (and strictly my personal opinion), Biden did also not have very detailed concrete plans for challenges that Trump administration was struggling with- Covid, economy, etc. Neither him being president will suddenly eliminate systemic racism from US. But those who voted for him saw the most important aspect- empathy. Just the fact that soemone acknowledged that there was a problem, acknowledged that they understood you were suffering, admitted that despite being the greatest country on earth, US had racism issues. Just in these simple acknowledgements was a solution. Afterall, you have to first acknowledge the problem to find a solution.

So here is now our final lesson:

Lesson 3 : Empathy & Emotional Intelligence help develop solutions not only in politics but in corporate world. As organizations increasingly become technology developers from technology consumers, there will be an increasing need of people who understand what the end users want- not what the final technical specifications of the Digital solution will be.

Views expressed are my own.

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